Project #30399 - paper

Media Review Paper

 

Popular entertainment media (e.g., magazines, newspapers, tabloids, TV shows, and movies) are the general public's primary sources of information of what psychology is (and is not). These reports are largely responsible for the negative view of psychology as "not a real science."

 

Recently, science has been increasingly portrayed as useless for understanding our modern world or for solving real-world problems. To make matters worse, skepticism regarding paranormal claims, an important part of critical (i.e., scientific) thinking, is often portrayed as a disadvantage (i.e., a handicap). In some TV shows, for example, the paranormal is portrayed as normal, and fantastic events (e.g., alien abductions, spontaneous combustion) are frequent occurrences. Movies have long portrayed scientists as mad, bad, or dangerous.

 

For example, consider the following. Habitual viewers of entertainment television (about one-third of U.S. adults watch more than four hours of TV daily) are more likely than infrequent viewers to believe that science is dangerous, that scientists are odd and peculiar people, and that a career in science as undesirable. After all, on prime time TV, being a scientist is extremely risky (because ten percent of scientists on such shows get killed), and being near a scientist is dangerous (because five percent of scientists kill someone). “Mad” scientists account for a higher percentage of horror movie antagonists than zombies, werevolves, and mummies combined.

 

It should come as no surprise that a negative correlation has been observed between watching entertainment television and people’s critical thinking about scientific matters. As the amount of entertainment TV viewing increases, acceptance of pseudoscience increases. In addition, habitual viewers are more likely than infrequent viewers to believe that astrology is scientific. Of course, this correlational evidence does not permit us to conclude that watching entertainment TV causes anti-science or pro-pseudoscience attitudes. On the other hand, entertainment TV pro-vides a context within which such attitudes are encouraged and can be developed.

 

It is important for you, as a student of psychology, to view these kinds of reports with a healthy skepticism, guided by your developing knowledge of what real psychology is and is not.

 

The primary intent of the assignment is to develop your ability to evaluate one small part of the steady diet of negative portrayals of science and skepticism.  That “small part” will involve popular misunderstandings and/or misgivings about psychological science.  This assignment provides an opportunity to apply psychological theory and research in the exploration of a book, a film, a television show, or a newspaper, magazine, or tabloid article.

 

For this assignment, choose a book, a film, a TV show, or an article from a newspaper, magazine or tabloid with content that can be meaningfully explored through application of psycholog-ical theory and research. Your main objective should be to clearly present your analysis of how well (i.e., how accurately) the book, film, TV show, or article represents both:

 

- science, in general

 

- psychological science, in particular

 

In your paper, you should clearly identify the source (i.e., the specific book,film, TV show, or article) and write a beautifully organized (and well written) discussion that critically evaluates the assertion, the evidence, and the explanation (i.e., the presumed controlling mechanism), including reasoned consideration of the reliability, validity, and exceptions of the purported findings contained in the report.

 

You can look at some of the later chapters in the Stangor text that deal with memory, emotion, motivation, the development of the individual over the life span, and health and stress, in order to have a more complete idea of different concepts that might apply.

 

Students: Remember that this is a research-based paper; the article, film, book, or TV show provides only the backdrop for research on a psychological topic. For fullcredit, you should use at least one peer-reviewed psychological reference in addition to your textbook.

 

Your paper should be 1,200 to 1,500 words, (i.e., about 5 double-spaced pages). 

 

 

Subject Science
Due By (Pacific Time) 05/11/2014 04:00 pm
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